China auto sales fell 92 percent during the first two weeks of this month in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.
It was even worse in the first week, when nationwide sales tumbled 96 percent to a daily average of only 811 units, the China Passenger Car Association (PCA) said in a report released earlier this week.
Deliveries this month might slide by about 70 percent, resulting in a roughly 40 percent drop in the first two months of the year, it said. The figures exclude minivans.
“There was barely anybody at car dealers in the first week of February as most people stayed at home,” PCA secretary-general Cui Dongshu wrote in the report.
Dealers gradually restarted operations in the second week of this month, when daily sales of passenger vehicles stood at 4,098 units, still a decline of 89 percent from a year earlier, he said.
The situation is expected to improve in the third week of this month, Cui said in an interview yesterday.
The numbers underscore the extent by which sales have been affected in the world’s largest auto market.
ADDING TO A TREND
Even before the outbreak, auto sales in the country were heading for an unprecedented third straight annual decline because of a slowing economy and trade tensions.
The Chinese Ministry of Commerce on Thursday said it would work with other government departments on more measures to stabilize auto sales and reduce the impact of the outbreak.
Separately, policymakers in China have been discussing extending subsidies for electric-vehicle purchases beyond this year to revive sales, people familiar with the matter have said.
NOT ALL GOOD: Analysts warned that other data for last month might be less rosy due to the virus and analysts expect the PMI to contract again next month Chinese factory activity saw surprise growth last month as businesses went back to work following a lengthy shutdown, but analysts said that the economy faces a challenging recovery as external demand has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, while the World Bank said that growth could screech to a halt. China is slowly returning to life after months of tough restrictions aimed at containing the virus, which put millions of people into virtual house arrest and brought economic activity to a near standstill. The strict measures saw a closely watched gauge of manufacturing plunge to its lowest level on record in February,
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